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Nicolás Russo: 'You don't necessarily have to be corrupt to melt a club'


The president of Lanús talks about the project that changed the life of the club. He says that the leaders cannot fall asleep and that "football is more difficult than politics."

Mariano verrina

01/22/2021 6:01 AM

  • Clarí

  • sports

Updated 01/22/2021 6:01 AM

Nicolás Russo wears cloth handkerchiefs.

He grew up 15 blocks from the Lanús court and has been a manager for more than 30 years.

He went with the kids from the neighborhood, from Villa Obrera.

The first game he saw was a 1-1 draw against Independiente and he remembers that Pepé Santoro saved for Rojo.

His dad never stepped on a court.

He says that the Lanús fans had a hard time.

He tells young people today and asks them to enjoy the best moment in the club's history.

They went to the Berazategui court and watched the game from above a tree.

"You know what it was like to go to Los Polvorines, to the field of San Miguel."

It was the Lanús that fell to the First C and it was difficult for him to make his footing in the National B. One day he went to Pico, La Pampa, and ended up lying on the floor of the bus while outside the Police faced the shots with the fans local.

“I remember a tremendous disappointment on the Chaco For Ever court.

It was the last date and Lanús with the tie rose to First.

We lost 1-0.

The bus ride was eternal, more than 20 hours.

We had an illusion of going up ... At that time, look at the stupidity, it was established that Lanús did not want to go up to First, that the managers preferred to be in the B ... All the nonsense that the fans said ", the president of the The same club that on Saturday will seek to lift the South American Cup for the second time and embroider its sixth star.

Look back at Russo.

Trace a hinge in 1979 when the club was in C. He remembers the assembly in which President Francisco Leiras was dismissed and pauses.

“Leiras was not a member of the club, he was a Racing fan.

He was a very important businessman and wanted to be governor of the province of Buenos Aires.

He had the bad idea of ​​choosing Lanús as a springboard.

Well, at the club they trumped his card, he was president… I always say something: you don't necessarily have to be corrupt to melt a club.

Someone from outside comes, a patron, he puts in a lot of money, he thinks that's enough ”.

-Does soccer cures you for everything?

Is it easier to go from football to politics than to be an outsider and try to go the other way?

-Football is much more difficult than politics.

In football you can do everything well but there is a problem, you have goals: if you hit the stick and go outside you are a disaster, if you hit the stick and enter you are a phenomenon.

What I learned is that

order against order wins best and order against disorder wins order.

We are an orderly club, we can go wrong once, but in the long run the project prevails.

And if you want to dedicate yourself to politics, football helps you a lot, it is a unique experience.

In a club like Lanús you get up every day thinking about how you do to sustain yourself, to solve things.

We have 652 employees, many disciplines in which you have to put money at the end of the month, you have to do works and you have an annual deficit to alleviate.

How do you pali?

With the sale of players.

Now, you need to manage well.

Because if you sell players and you have to pay interest because you borrowed money from the banks or you accumulate credits or you have more people working, salaries that are not consistent ... you end up melting the club.

And it cannot be that you get to the 5th of the month and you don't have money to pay the salary of an employee who earns 40 thousand pesos.

-At the same time, you can lose with clubs that live in debt and that spend more than they have.

-It gives you a lot of anger, but you have to handle the club like a company or like you handle your home.

It usually occurs in large clubs, with members who raise capital and have very important relationships.

So they do more than they can, they sign higher contracts than they should.

And they end up doing very badly.

It is in sight: badly managed clubs end up full of trials and sportingly they achieve nothing.

-Why does the AFA not punish debtor clubs?

-I said it a lot of times and they never gave me a ball: the club that has bank or tax debts, debts with players, with the coaching staff or with club personnel, that I cannot incorporate.

We are talking about something very basic.

And it is not done.

Now due to the pandemic we organize this tournament without averages to try to accommodate ourselves.

And Lanús supported the measure because

the idea of ​​prioritizing the economy, ordering the clubs.

And that we did not have economic problems or averages.

-By prioritizing economics, they relegated sports.

-Yes, but what did we say?

Let's take advantage of these months to catch up, reduce the high contracts, promote the youth ... If there are no averages.

Now comes a tournament with averages but without declines.

Most of the clubs we understood and it helped us to accommodate the economy.

-It seems that many did not understand it: there were 11 changes of coaches.

-Well, the one who did not understand is going to continue to be in trouble.

Sometimes a leader comes and asks me: "How do you do?"

And I try to tell them to take a break, to be young.

They tell me: "But you can't, it's impossible, they kill me ...".


worse than what it was you will not go.

At least it will help you to stop, to order.

Play with the kids of the club, let the technician from the Reserve go up.

And try, what do I know.

-Are we on our way to Boca and River dominating everything more and more?

-The fear is there and you have to be attentive.

That is why it is very important to fight for the distribution of television rights.

And you have to defend it to the letter because it is the only way we can compete.

-If someone outside football asks you to explain the phrase "you have to have weight in AFA", what would you say?

-Nooo, that doesn't exist.

You as a leader have the obligation to be in all the details.

I give you an example: in the previous game of the first leg with Vélez the swabs were done and 12 positive cases came out.

There were players, managers, cooks… It was very strange for us.

There were four starting players.

We could have assumed the situation and said "well, bad luck they tested positive."

This was 24 hours before the game.

And no, we did urgent new tests and it turned out that the exams were contaminated.

If you had fallen asleep the four players would not play.

And so it is in everything.

- Does that happen with the referees?

-The important thing with the referees is to know the style: if he is a

card holder

, if he lets play, if he speaks, if he does not speak.

You have to know.

Unfortunately football is like that.

We have a

follow-up of the referees

, with specific plays and we transmit those details.

You have to take precautions.

-It becomes difficult not to distrust when you see certain arbitrations, especially in the Promotion.

-It is that the level of a referee in First is not the same as that of one in the Federal Tournament.

Everyone spoke that Barracas and Tigre were going to ascend and were eliminated.

The rise to power and the clumsiness of 38-38

Nicolás Russo, Jorge Ameal, Claudio Tapia and Marcelo Tinelli, protagonists of the last restructuring of Argentine football, when the Super League was dissolved and the First Division returned to the AFA.

In Lanús there is alternation in the positions.

You cannot be president for more than two consecutive terms.

“We are rotating.

Everything remains at home, of course there are fights and differences but they remain indoors, ”says Russo.

In the last elections, in 2019, the ruling party won 89.7% of the votes.

Russo was a merchant and began his managerial career in Lanús from the Stadium Construction Commission.

Before reaching his first presidency (2009-2012) he passed through the Treasury and the Professional Football Department.

From there he jumped into municipal politics as a councilor for the Renovador Front and since 2019 he assumed as provincial deputy.

He launched himself into the mayor's office in 2015 and did not reach him.

That is your goal for the future.

-Do you feel that when at first they underestimated Chiqui Tapia?

-Let's see, I'm honest: when Grondona dies there is a very difficult situation, the Segura cycle arrives, the intervention, and the First Division clubs did not agree that a leader of the Ascent was in charge of the AFA.

We believed that this place belonged to us in First.

But an agreement had to be reached.

And the truth is that Tapia and Toviggino worked with intelligence, they achieved the total consensus of the Ascent and the Interior clubs.

So, if you had managed to get the entire First to unite with a candidate, barbarian, you would win.

But you can't, it's very difficult.

First is brave, we all want to win, take advantage, there is a lot of rivalry, starting with Boca and River.

-Is the day of 38-38 for a Netflix series?

-I take it as a great clumsiness.

If it had been a fan, the one who counted the 38 votes first, began to shout, to turn the table

and that's it, he won the election.

Nobody knew it was going to end tied.

There was no good control, the ballot sheets were made of a very thin paper, they stuck together, there were like three double votes.

There is a question: I agree that you do not vote by show of hands, because in an assembly many begin to raise their hands and bye, you get hooked on whoever wins.

What I do believe is that the envelope must be identified and that with the result set you have to know who River voted for, who Boca voted for or who Independiente voted for.

Because if what happened that day does not happen: many leaders go with a mandate from their club to vote one thing and when they arrive they vote another.

I remember that (Hugo) Moyano held a meeting with all of us who supported Segura and there were 43 leaders.

There on the AFA premises, uh, half an hour before the vote.

At night (Marcelo) Tinelli went to eat with those who supposedly had voted for him and there were 42 of them.

Product care

Tinelli, Russo, Rapisarda, Blanco and Tapia leaving Casa Rosada.


-Why three weeks before the start of a new tournament, it is not known what the format will be?

-The tournament will surely be with two zones of 13, then there is the stop for the Copa América and a long tournament of 25 dates begins.

This is going to be regularized surely in four years when we are in 22 teams.

-But we come with constant changes a long time ago.

-Yes, it was a mistake to have made a 30-team tournament and getting out of that cost a lot.

When it was being achieved, the pandemic came that led us to prioritize economics over sports.

Then again there are more teams.

- You have to take care of the product, said Tapia.

Are you careful?

-For me, yes, it's very good.

You have to think that they come from everywhere to take our players and they take them younger and younger.

Despite that, Argentine soccer is the most competitive in the world.

Here you never know which team is going to win.

There are very good players, very good technicians and also very good leaders, even if journalism is in charge of speaking ill of them.

Look also

José Sand, the scorer who risked his life to earn a cow

Date, venue and time of the South American Cup final: Lanús vs.

Defense and Justice

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-01-22

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